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The 7 Hottest New Italian Restaurants in Atlanta

By Christopher Hassiotis
September 2, 2014
Photo by: Christopher Hassiotis

America's favorite imported cuisine is arguably Italian. From hearty northern fare to light, spicy bites from its southern and coastal regions, there are plenty of new options to enjoy around Atlanta. Here are seven spots to put on your must-try list. 

  • Photo by: Alexa Lampasona

    Bar Amalfi

    This breezy outdoor bar in the mini-plaza Giovanni Di Palma (of Antico fame) has built conjures sunny thoughts of coastal Italy, with striped blue-and-white umbrellas and open-air cabanas draped in flowing linens.

    Must-Try Dish: It's still hot out in Atlanta; go with a refreshing frozen lemon or orange cocktail.

    Good to Know: Bottega Luisa, located directly next to Bar Amalfi and sharing the same leafy parking lot, is Di Palma's shop where he sells imported Italian foods and goods.

    Neighborhood: Home Park

    1077 Hemphill Ave. NW

  • Photo by: Bar Meatball

    Bar Meatball

    Meatballs are the focus at this neighborhood spot located in a renovated cottage — and in the offshoot food truck of the same name. Choose your type of meatball, choose your sauce, and choose your presentation — on a plate, in a big sandwich or as individual sliders.

    Must-Try Dish: The pork meatballs, studded with cherry peppers and fennel, are great topped with sweet classic tomato sauce.

    Good to Know: The zeppole donuts, doused in powdered sugar, offer a terrific end to the meal.

    Neighborhood: Virginia-Highland

    1044 Greenwood Ave. NE; 404-228-2901

  • Photo by: Christopher Hassiotis

    Don Antonio by Starita

    The city's crowded Neapolitan pizza scene got another excellent entrant earlier this year, when the Italian family behind the NYC original spot opened a Buckhead outpost in this brick building tucked under the shadow of the St. Regis.

    Must-Try Dish: The margherita pizza with salami ($15) adds a fatty, salty component to the classic tomato-basil-mozzarella combo.

    Good to Know: We recently selected the young pizzaiolo Giorgia Caporuscio as one of our 2014 Atlanta 30 Under 30 honorees.

    Neighborhood: Buckhead

    102 West Paces Ferry Rd. NW; 404-844-2879

  • Photo by: Osteria Cibo Rustico

    Osteria Cibo Rustico

    From the quickly growing restaurant group behind Smokebelly and The Big Ketch, this Italian spot offers a neighborhood vibe. 

    Must-Try Dish: The radiatore ariano ($12.95) showcase this fun, uncommon pasta in a creamy red pepper sauce.

    Good to Know: Stop in on a Monday, when wine is half-off.

    Neighborhood: North Druid Hills

    2945 N. Druid Hills Rd.; 678-704-2700

  • Photo by: Andrew Thomas Lee

    St. Cecilia

    Although not strictly an Italian restaurant, this seafood-centric hot spot incorporates traditions from all over the northern Mediterranean coastline, including Italian.

    Must-Try Dish: The menu changes regularly, but a recent crudo of whole langoustines ($15) delighted with its unusual presentation and clean, crisp flavors of citrus, olive oil and pink peppercorns.

    Good to Know: Come ready to feast — both the cocktail and dessert menu are packed with excellent choices.

    Neighborhood: Buckhead

    3455 Peachtree Rd. NE; 404-554-9995

  • Toscano & Sons Italian Market

    After a too-long hiatus, this relocated and reopened inexpensive, counter-service emporium specializes in gourmet panini and foods prepared to take home and cook. 

    Must-Try Dish: The veg-friendly Funghi panino combines portobello, arugula and creamy ricotta salata.

    Good to Know: Check out the store's blog for recipes, cooking suggestions and ideas on how to use ingredients. 

    Neighborhood: Virginia-Highland 

    1050 North Highland Ave. NE; 404-815-8383

  • Photo by: Christopher Hassiotis

    Varuni Napoli

    Enthusiastic pizzaiolo Luca Varuni, formerly of Antico, opened his own spot earlier this year. Using two massive imported pizza ovens, the team brings the neighborhood Neapolitan-style pies, crisp calzones and snacks like arancini and panzerotti.

    Must-Try Dish: The Bastardo pizza ($19) has a piquant bite thanks to its combination of pepperoni and pork nduja sausage.

    Good to Know: Varuni Napoli makes its own limoncello. Wrap up your meal with a sip.

    Neighborhood: Morningside/Lenox Park

    1540 Monroe Dr. NE; 404-709-2690

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Places Mentioned

Antico Pizza Napoletana

Pizza • Home Park

Food28 Decor17 Service19 Cost$20
 
 
 
St. Cecilia

Lenox

Food25 Decor26 Service24 Cost$56
 
 
 
Varuni Napoli

Morningside-Lenox Park

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Bar Amalfi

Bar • Home Park

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
Don Antonio by Starita

Pizza • Buckhead

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
 
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